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Microsoft's New Windows Media Player

Techstination feature for Thursday, July 20, 2000

Microsoft is out to get Real. I don't mean "get real". I mean get Real, as in Real Networks. Real has been the king of the hill when it comes to streaming video and audio on the Internet, but with the latest versions of its Windows Media Player and its integration with WindowsME, the next version of Windows, there is real reason for Real to be worried. The new Windows Media Player handles a variety of music file types... including MP3 and Microsoft's own Windows Media Format along with video. And it sure doesn't look like your typical Microsoft application. Digital media division product manager Kevin Unangst says Microsoft has gone cool...

"The Windows Media Player introduces a completely new way of enjoying the music with what we call skin technology, much more comprehensive than skin technology that's been available before in that you can completely, as a user of the player, change the look and feel one hundred percent. So if you're a fan of a particular music artist, you might get a skin which is a picture of that artist and you play music with buttons that were designed, links to that artist's Web site, rather than choosing the interface that perhaps Microsoft had designed."

Hundreds of skins are available... some are pretty far out there. The download is free and not just for Windows. There are new versions for the Mac and even Unix on the way as well. You can find a link from our home at Bootcamp, I'm Fred Fishkin for CBS News.